My series, The Christian Centuries, starts in the first century after Jesus was born. I plan to follow Christian church history through the centuries.
But Christianity didn’t begin in the year 1. Christianity is deeply rooted in the rich history of Judaism.
As a historian, my curiosity peaks when I read something like, “as written in the scriptures” or “in fulfillment of the scriptures” which is found many times in the New Testament regarding Jesus.
I find it fascinating that Jesus’ birth, ministry and death were predicted more than 1500 years before he even came to earth.
Jesus fulfilled over 400 Old Testament prophecies. The odds of one person doing that who was not the Messiah are too great to figure. It is impossible.1
Yet, many of today’s Jews still believe in the 12th Principle of the Jewish Faith:
I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah. I await His arrival with everyday. If the generation is worthy, then He’ll be revealed.
The question here is who decides if a generation is worthy?
Well, he did come. His name is Jesus. And God thought that it was time for the Messiah to arrive to save the world, the whole world from sin and death.
Here are some of them starting with the earliest book of the Bible, Genesis.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”~ Genesis: 12:2-3
This is God’s promise to Abram (later called Abraham) to build the nation of Israel (which came true in 1948). The last part, “all peoples on earth (including Gentiles) will be blessed through you.” refers to Jesus. See Matthew’s first chapter, “The Genealogy of Jesus” which list Jesus’ lineage from Abraham to Joseph.
Then in the book of Numbers, the 3rd book of Moses written during the 40 years the Israelites were wandering in the desert – about 1500 years before Jesus was born.
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth…” ~Numbers 24:17
This was prophesied by Balaam a former sorcerer through whom God picked to speak. A 3000 year old inscription in Aramaic of that verse exists in Jordan. Balaam’s prophecy led the wise men to look for a start that announced the birth of king.
Then we have from the book of Deuteronomy which was Moses’ last chance to address the Israelites, the people he loved.
The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. ~Deuteronomy 18:15
Here Moses tells the Israelites not just that Jesus is coming, but that they must listen to Him.
Then we have this passage from Job, the guy whose faith God tested, saying:
He alone stretches out the heaven and treads on the waves of the sea. ~Job 9:8
“…treads on the waves of the sea.” Jesus did that. See Matthew 14:21-23, Mark 6:44-46, John 6:15-17
King David wrote about the Messiah in several of his Psalms:
I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old— ~Psalm 78:2
Jesus spoke in parables. And this was fulfilled. See Matt. 13:35
You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. ~Psalm 89:9
He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. ~Psalm 107:29
Jesus didn’t just walk on water he calmed the sea. See Luke 8:22-25
…LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent…~Psalm 104:1-2
This was fulfilled with the Transfiguration witnessed by Peter, James and John. See Mark 9:2-10
LORD, save us! LORD, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. ~Psalm 118:25-26
That’s what the people of Jerusalem shouted when Jesus arrived:
The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” ~Matthew 21:9
Hosanna means Save.
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Soli Deo Gloria!
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